Phillies Notebook: Brown looking to emerge as Phillies' rightfielder

Phillies' Domonic Brown hits single against Florida State yesterday.
Phillies' Domonic Brown hits single against Florida State yesterday.
Posted: February 25, 2011

CLEARWATER, Fla. - There wasn't much to take from the Phillies exhibition against Florida State other than their ability to beat an overmatched college team, 8-0, in front of a sparse crowd at Bright House Field. One of the few notable observations, though, was the presence of Domonic Brown in rightfield long after the rest of the team's starters had departed.

Charlie Manuel has said that his rookie outfielder will see more playing time than anybody this spring, and that held true in the Phillies' exhibition opener against the Seminoles. At the plate, Brown went 1-for-3 with a single that dropped in front of a Florida State rightfielder who took a circuitous route to the ball. In the field, he nearly made an impressive sliding catch after getting a late jump on a ball in the first inning.

The other two leading candidates to replace Jayson Werth also reached base: John Mayberry Jr. singled and scored a run in his only plate appearances, and Ben Francisco went 0-for-1 with a walk and a run.

Both Francisco and Mayberry played in leftfield. Brown was eventually replaced by Delwyn Young in right after the sixth inning.

"They want me to get comfortable out there on the bases, in the field, at the plate," said Brown, who was recently named the fourth-best prospect in the game by Baseball America. "I'm working toward every area."

How the Phillies will evaluate those three aspects remains to be seen. While the team's chief concern seems to be replacing Werth's bat, the free-agent departee was also a skilled fielder.

"I don't think we really know how good they are on defense," Manuel said. "We know Mayberry is a good defensive player. I think the more we play Brown and Francisco, I think we'll find that out."

Utley OK

There exists a certain level of paranoia among Phillies fans when it comes to the health of their star second baseman. So Charlie Manuel's decision to rest Chase Utley for a few days is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows back home. But the Phillies manager insists that his three-hole hitter is battling nothing more than routine soreness in his legs and knees.

"Chase is fine," Manuel said. "When he's ready to go out there, I'll put him out there. Definitely, he's not injured. He's fine."

Durbin update

Despite indications that Chad Durbin is considering a return to the Phillies on a minor league contract, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. reiterated his earlier thoughts on the matter, calling a reunion between the two sides "improbable."

Phillers

First baseman Ryan Howard went 1-for-2 with a two-run double to deep centerfield in the first inning . . . Catcher Brian Schneider doubled and catcher Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI single . . . The Phillies, who are off today, open up their Grapefruit League schedule tomorrow in Tampa against the Yankees. Lefthander Cole Hamels is scheduled to start against righthander Bartolo Colon . . . The Phillies will hold their annual golf tournament today . . . Closer Brad Lidge is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today.

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